Whither British general practice after the 2004 GMS contract? stories and realities of change in four UK general practices

Guro Huby, Bruce Guthrie, Suzanne Grant, Francis Watkins, Kath Checkland, Ruth McDonald, Huw Davies

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose - The purpose of this article is to provide answers to two questions: what has been the impact of nGMS on practice organisation and teamwork; and how do general practice staff perceive the impact? Design/methodology/approach - The article is based on comparative in-depth case studies of four UK practices. Findings - There was a discrepancy between changes observed and the way practice staff described the impact of the contract. Similar patterns of organisational change were apparent in all practices. Decision-making became concentrated in fewer hands. Formally or informally constituted "elite" multidisciplinary groups monitored and controlled colleagues' behaviour for maximum performance and remuneration. This convergence of organisational form was not reflected in the dominant "story" each practice constructed about its unique ethos and style. The "stories" also failed to detect negative consequences to the practice flowing from its adaptation to the contract. Originality/value - The paper highlights how collective "sensemaking" in practices may fail to detect and address key organisational consequences from the nGMS.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)63-78
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Health Organization and Management
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2008



    • General practice
    • Health services
    • Organizational change
    • Team working
    • United Kingdom

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